Cancer is scary. When I hear the “C” word dropped, I only think one thing- Fuck. When it’s a friend or a friend of a friend, I feel helpless. I want to help, but I don’t know how. So I just wait, ready to give a hug or whatever. But when it’s my dad, I am lost.
I woke up on August 8th, a Wednesday, to 2 voicemails from my dad’s nursing home. You see, my dad has Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome because he is an alcoholic. I’m not only his daughter, but his guardian. Well, the nursing said my dad was peeing blood and was sent to St. Vincent Hospital. That night, I signed paperwork to have a cystoscopy done and other tests. I was hoping it was just a kidney stone or something.
Well, the cystoscopy went well on Thursday, but an ultrasound found a mass in his kidney. It was about 4 cm, which I didn’t bother to convert in my head. They were going to do a CAT scan to get a better idea about it. They did the CAT scan the same day, but I had to wait for the results.
Friday, I called for the results and the nurse said I had to wait for the doctor. I didn’t need to wait for the doctor for the scopy or ultrasound results. Why do I have to wait for these? I started panicking and worrying myself into a panic attack. Finally, I had the result. The mass was a tumor and it was 4-5 cm big. It was bigger than the ultra sound had showed. In most cases, the doctor said, the tumor is cancerous and the kidney has to be removed. The lymph node attached to the kidney was also going to be removed and would be biopsied to see if the cancer had mediatized. Surgery was scheduled for Saturday.
Now, my dad cannot remember anything- his short term memory is gone (see Wernicke- Korsakoff Syndrome) so it’s not like I can rationally talk to him about losing his kidney. I can’t rationally talk to him about anything. So it sucks having a conversation with him about this and knowing that as soon as I leave the room, he will forget.
I have to say, my aunts and uncles are great. My dad is the oldest of 9 kids, so I have a big family. My Uncle Ed has been a huge help in getting the information out to the family. If I had to email or call them all, I’d be emotionally exhausted. My Aunt Pat has also really been there. They really help make it easier.
So, Saturday the surgery goes fairly well. He’s recovering and everything is going ok. I was told it takes about 2 weeks for the biopsy results to come back, so I’m still waiting. On Friday, August 17th, dad went back to the nursing home to rest and to continue recuperating after surgery.
I was starting to feel better and worry less, until this morning. While I was getting ready for work, I received a call from the nursing home. My dad had vomited blood. He was rushed to Akron General and diagnosed as a bowel obstruction. So he was sent back to St. Vincent since it is considered an “after surgery complication”.
I am tired and scared. And even though I have a great husband, family, and friends, I feel alone. Because hugs and kind words just don’t reach inside where I’m freaking out. My dad was an alcoholic asshole and a shitty father, and it’s hard to be the guardian to someone like that. I think deep down inside I still am waiting to have a “daddy” and if I lose him, I never will. So, I’m scared of this cancer and everything that it means. I’m fucking scared.